Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Guru's Local College Report: Big Five City Series Dates Are Set

(Guru’s Note: The WNBA Report is above this blog. Incidentally, this date in history was the one in which the Guru was hired at his former place of employment at The Inquirer.)

By Mel Greenberg

The Atlantic 10 released its women’s schedule Thursday causing the three Big five members – Temple, La Salle and St. Joseph’s – to release their entire slate. Some dates may get adjusted and times need to be added but with the earlier release than usual from Villanova, the Guru got a jump start on his annual local/national composite – in fact a major jump start.

The only missing pieces are Penn, Delaware in the CAA, and Drexel in its entirety but there’s plenty of time and then will come the refinement.

Some quick notes off the schedule discussion earlier this week, apparently Temple will again get visited from Auburn while UCLA will return the Owls’ visit to the Bruins and also stop by St. Joseph’s. Temple also returns a visit to Ohio State so the Owls' RPI should be healthy if they can get some key wins.

In fact that game is listed for 1 p.m. but Temple hosts Nova that day, though no time for Dec. 22 has been set. Just making you all aware to avoid conflicts if possible, though the Guru knows that’s the getaway day for the holidays.

St. Joseph’s will also visit Maryland and the Boston College visit, mentioned earlier this week involving the Shields sisters going one-on-one is a standalone game. The Hawks don't appear to be holding their Classic this year.

Temple, in its release, noted the comforts of no consecutive days – not back-to-back in this reference -- of travel in the A-10.
But in looking at the Owls’ portion, by the end of January either everyone will be chasing them or they will be chasing everyone else because they get all the perceived heavy hitters in in the first weeks of play.

What the Guru has been able to do out of this – and all the schools have their schedules as they stand on their websites – is at least offer the entire slate of Big Five games, with times to come.

One thing apparent is the race will be very open ended through most of the season. Back in the days when Villanova was very good – though the Cats did win it two years ago when they weren’t – the race would be over before the New Year arrived because Nova had to clear out its nonleague competition early to make way for the mega-membered Big East.

This time Nova has several City Series games into January. St. Joseph’s sees La Salle late while Temple’s second game with the Hawks is the double A-10/Big Five counter game and that comes in late February just before the defending champions meet La Salle at the end of the regular season.

Anyhow, here’s your save the dates before the Guru returns to heavy duty WNBA playoff mode with a clear conscious.

November 22 Penn at La Salle – Quakers snapped a long losing Big 5 streak in beating the Explorers last season.

December 4 Villanova at La Salle – By then Villanova coach Harry Perretta should have his 600th career victory, one would think.

December 10 St. Joseph’s at Villanova – This will be an early benchmark for how the race will go. Most times a team has to go 4-0 to win it outright.

December 22 Villanova at Temple – It’s the holiday getaway game and hopefully this year some offense might appear from both teams.

January 14 Penn at St. Joseph’s – This one has had competitiveness the last several years.

January 17 Penn at Villanova – This one was still undecided a year ago when crunch time approached.

January 21 Penn at Temple – The Quakers have been pests in some recent encounters with the Owls.

February 8 St. Joseph’s at La Salle – It’s also an A-10 game some much will be riding on the outcome, potentially for the Hawks, who could be a darkhorse in the conference race.

February 21 St. Joseph’s at Temple – This will be the second meeting and could decide who will be the frontrunner at the finish. The Hawks will have a second shot in their overall series to stop the Owls’ domination if it didn’t happen in the earlier meeting.

February 25 Temple at La Salle – Time will tell if this game is for another repeat or not but one last shot at seeding in the Atlantic 10 tournament, which is at St. Joseph’s this year, will probably be on the line for both teams.

-- Mel

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